Papers Reviewed: The Sun, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Times
Topic of article: Politics
Headline: Its Boris day
Authors: Harry Cole (Westminster Correspondent)
Aim of the article: To show that Boris Johnson has huge backing in his campaign to be the next leader of the Conservative party
Agenda of the article: The article wants to make people believe that Boris Johns0n is already the front-runner for Conservative leader due to the backing he has received from MPs. The number of ‘100 MPs’ is quoted, along with names of ministers that the public would recognise, giving Boris Johnson’s claims the appearance of great strength and organization. The use of the line ‘rushed to back him’ is also employed to create the image of people quickly and happily getting behind him in support, yet again giving Johnson’s campaign the illusion of strength. It is as if the Sun has already decided who will be the next leader and has started by making their candidate seem already so in control that there is little need to run against him.
Bias of the article: There are no sources to back up the claims of 100 MPs rushing to support Boris Johnson, nor any quotations from those who are named in support. The question of possible contenders to the leadership is not even discussed, supporting the paper’s impression that Boris is the only suitable candidate for the job.
Topic of article: EU, Politics
Headline: Le Pen looked at Farage and said: ‘Look at how beautiful history is…’
Authors: Heather Stewart (Economics Editor), Jennifer Rankin (European Correspondent)
Aim of the article: To report on the reaction within the European Summit meeting to Britain’s brexit vote
Agenda of the article: The article opens with a highly suggestive headline which attempts to link the very far right and outwardly racist leader of the French National Front, Marine Le Pen, with Nigel Farage. By showing how this divisive figure appreciates the actions and beliefs of what Farage stands for and in some ways what Britain voted for, the Guardian is making readers draw comparisons and giving a warning about the power and encouragement the brexit vote has given to the European far right. There is an oddly sexual tone to this headline as well, creating the illusion of an even stronger bond between the two leaders. The main body of the article continues with this warning tone. It describes the demands on immigration control David Cameron has stated Britain is likely to ask for when leaving the EU before quoting European leaders who state that there will be ‘no cherry-picking’ of policies to adopt when wanting to be part of the single market and gain access to Europe. This is another indication that what has been promised by the leave campaign, of a ‘bespoke EU deal for Britain’ will not be as easy to negotiate as previously claimed.
Bias of the article: The Guardian has remained staunchly in favour of remaining in the EU and the article serves to support their concerns over the future of Britain outside of it. There are quotes from Farage, Cameron and a number of European leaders regarding Britain’s next steps and so it balances these opinions but the overall tone is of a highly cautionary and pro-EU stance.
The Daily Mail
Topic of article: Medicine
Headline: Don’t give up your statins
Author(s): Ben Spence (Medical Correspondent)
Aim of the article: To warn about the possible consequences of stopping statins due to previous health warnings
Agenda of the article: The article is highly critical of medical papers published in the British Medical Journal which had misleading claims about the severity of the side-effects of statins. This has endangered many of the public to severe consequences, including strokes and heart attacks due to faulty advice by so-called ‘experts’. The tone of the article is very much one of anger towards these medical journalists who have made people’s lives in danger and seems like the paper is trying to show that they are on the public’s side, being the first to warn them and showing they will fight for the truth, even when experts lie to them. As there is nothing that can be done now, other than not stopping statins, the agenda of the article seems to be more towards provoking an emotional response rather than helping people protect themselves.
Bias of the article: The article does not feature any quotations or sources from those who have been identified as publishing the incorrect claims, nor from doctor’s who will gave experience with the conditions mentioned in the article. It does publish data from the experts at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and this will be verifiable. The use of the line ‘an axe to grind’ makes it seem like those who made these dangerous claims were deliberately doing it and creates the tone of anger and betrayal that the article creates around the publishers of the papers.
Topic of article: EU, Immigration, Politics
Headline: Cameron’s Migration Ultimatum
Authors: Francis Elliot (Brussels Reporter), Sam Coates (Deputy Political Editor)
Aim of the article: To report on the EU summit meeting in Brussels and the proposed next steps in Britain’s brexit
Agenda of the article: The article attempts to strike a balance between discussing the major concern of the British public during the referendum; limits on migration, the European response to these demands and the leave campaign’s recent statements regarding migration. At first the Prime Minister is quoted in his speech given to EU leaders as warning them that they must allow Britain better control over immigration during negotiations about leaving the EU. Then Angela Merkel is quoted as saying that Britain cannot have both immigration control and single market access. And finally Boris Johnson is shown to be seemingly backtracking on his claims to pursue immigration control for Britain as his primary focus. As a whole these three parts come together to create a contradicting and confusing picture – surely meant to be an effective analysis of the current state of British politics. Boris Johnson is particularly focused on here, where he is painted as an incompetent man who wrote an article which goes towards refusing many of the claims he made to win the Referendum and then claiming it was done while ‘tired’. The question it seems to be asking is ‘if this man is already changing his main focus so soon after the referendum how can we believe he ever truly wanted what he claimed?’
Bias of the article: The Times was pro-EU during the campaign and by juxtaposing Cameron’s claims about the need for immigration control with Merkel’s statement regarding this not being possible it is clearly attempting to show that what Britain has claimed it will get following the leave vote will not necessarily be possible. There are no other quotes from European leaders other then Merkel, giving her statements less weight as it is unclear if the rest of Europe shares these views. There are no sources regarding the logistics of the possible immigration reforms and so we are left to only consider the warnings given rather than understand the possible complexities of the deal.
Front page images from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs/the_papers
Reviewed by: Sam Hewitt